Continental Tyre Review | Argotal, Kryptotal & Xynotal Tyres

The not-so-minor details


Continental Argotal, Kryptotal & Xynotal


$109 - $139 AUD


1039g - 1300g

Flow reviews the new Continental tyre range

Earlier this year, Continental pulled the wrappers off a completely new range of mountain bike tyres. Consisting of five brand new tread patterns, the lineup is designed to cover everything from trail riding on dry and rocky singletrack, through to high-speed downhill racing over loose and muddy terrain.

The new gravity range is no doubt a big move for the German tyre manufacturer, which is looking to muscle its way into a market that’s been dominated by Maxxis for the past decade. And Continental certainly isn’t messing about. The new tyres are available in three different casing options, and there are three different rubber compounds to go with them. Along with 27.5in and 29in diameters, 2.4in and 2.6in width options, it adds up to no fewer than 40 different variants in total. Pwoar!

Our experience with Continental tyres had been a bit limited up until now. That will definitely be changing moving forward.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
We’ve been testing a whole bunch of different options across the new Continental tyre range.

As impressive as it might be, the array of choice is a little overwhelming. Not helping things, the new tyre names aren’t exactly intuitive.

To help decipher the latest Continental range and to see how the new designs perform on the trail, we got our hands on five different tyre combinations to put to the test across five different bikes. Here we’ll be diving into the tech behind the new tyres, along with our experience of riding them over the past few months.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
Our experience with Continental tyres had been a bit limited up until now. That will definitely be changing moving forward.

Developing the new Continental tyres

It was all the way back in 2018 when Continental first began development of its new gravity tyre range. That sounds like a long time, though anyone who’s familiar with how mountain bike tyres are manufactured will understand that developing an entirely new model is a surprisingly complex and time-intensive exercise. Of course a worldwide pandemic didn’t exactly help things either.

Rather than build entirely new tyres from the get-go, the team at Continental started out by trialling new materials and construction methods to modify the performance of their existing tread patterns. This included the Der Baron, Der Kaiser and Mud King, which have been in the Continental portfolio for the better part of a decade.

These well-known tread patterns were then used to develop 18 new casing variations. The goal here was to find that magic balance between suppleness, stiffness, weight and durability, which resulted in the use of new ply materials, compounds, apex materials and apex shapes.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The unique texture on the sidewalls is created when the tyres are released from the mould. If nothing else, it looks cool!

The testing process took on board feedback from Continental-sponsored World Cup downhillers and EWS enduro racers, including Andreas Kolb, Bernard Kerr and Morgane Charre. The Athertons, who conveniently have their very own bike park in Wales, also played an integral role in testing. Access to the Dyfi bike park proved to be crucial during the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns across Europe, as it allowed the Athertons to continue providing real-world feedback to the engineers as new prototypes were developed.

Three new casing options

Through testing, those 18 casing prototypes were whittled down to just three. These new casing options receive simple, logical names that make them easy to understand their intended purpose; DH, Enduro and Trail.

The DH casing is the heaviest, stiffest and most durable option. The carcass utilises a two-ply construction, with six layers of 110tpi material underneath the tread, and four layers through the sidewall. The beads are then reinforced with a stiff wrap-around Apex to improve stability and protection against snake-bites.

The Enduro casing is lighter and more flexible thanks to its single-ply construction. Like the DH casing, the Enduro version still uses Apex reinforcement around the beads, and the carcass is also made using 110tpi fabric. However, there’s half as much of it with only three layers under the tread and two layers in the sidewall. To increase protection against slashes, a thin and flexible layer of cross-woven fabric is added to the sidewalls. The result is a weight saving of over 120g per tyre compared to the DH casing.

The Trail casing is the lightest and most supple of the lot. This employs 60tpi material with three layers under the tread and two layers in the sidewall. You’ll find the same cross-woven fabric through the sidewalls, though it does omit the Apex reinforcement. This saves you around 120g per tyre compared to the heavier Enduro casing.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The three graphics denote the intended use (left), the casing (middle), and the rubber compound (right).

Five new tread patterns

Following the development of those new casing options, the Continental team moved on to prototyping different tread patterns. The goal here was to produce four brand-new tyres designed for specific surface and weather conditions, from dry and rocky, through to loose and muddy.

Drawing on experience with previous mountain bike tyres, the premise for Continental was relatively straightforward. For harder conditions you want a tread pattern with more contact patches to deliver a high degree of engagement. For softer conditions you want a greater negative profile for self-cleaning, and taller tread blocks for surface penetration.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The tread pattern changes depending on the conditions the tyre is designed for. On hardpack trails, you want consistent and tightly-spaced knobs to maintain plenty of surface contact.

Although the tread pattern for the mud tyre, loose condition tyre and dry condition tyre were quickly settled on, it was the mixed conditions tyre that proved to be the most challenging. Initially the Kryptotal was going to be a single tread pattern, though there were two prototypes that showed a lot of promise during the testing phase. The team decided to pair these two prototypes together, and after clarifying with further testing, the front and rear-specific versions of the Krytptotal were born.

As mentioned earlier, there is a mud-specific tyre in Continental’s new gravity range. It’s called the Hydrotal, and it’s primarily designed for downhill racing in absolutely minging conditions. For that reason, we left the Hydrotal off our testing list, as it’s unlikely to be a popular tyre in Australia.

Here are the other four tyres that we’ve been testing;

continental argotal tire tyre
The Argotal is the most aggressive option of the four tread patterns we’ve been testing. It’s designed for loose conditions, whether that’s powdery dust or soft loam.

Continental Argotal

The Argotal is the most aggressive option. Designed to excel in loose conditions, the Argotal uses tall tread blocks with plenty of space between them for shedding mud and debris. It looks a little bit like a Maxxis Shorty II, or even a Specialized Hillbilly, though the Argotal’s tread is positioned slightly closer together. Continental claims this tyre works equally well in soft dust and loam as it does in the mud, while reinforced shoulder blocks aim to maximise cornering grip.

continental kryptotal fr front tyre tire
The Kryptotal Fr is a front-specific tyre that’s designed for mixed conditions.

Continental Kryptotal Fr

The Kryptotal Fr is the next most aggressive tyre, and it’s pitched as a front-specific option for mixed conditions. The tread is more closely spaced compared to the Argotal, which means it won’t clear mud as well, but will increase surface grip on rockier terrain. The staggered 3-2-3 array isn’t dissimilar to a Maxxis Assegai or Schwalbe Magic Mary, though the centre tread blocks on the Kryptotal Fr use a more pronounced ramp to reduce rolling resistance. Being a front-specific tyre, it features a rounded profile that aims to provide a smooth transition when leaning on to the corner tread.

continental kryptotal rear rr tire tyre
The Kryptotal Rr is a rear-specific tyre that offers more braking bite and climbing traction.

Continental Kryptotal Rr

The Kryptotal Rr is the matching rear tyre to the Kryptotal Fr. It uses the same reinforced cornering blocks, which feature sipes and a scalloped inner face that helps them to pinch the ground and transition the load when leaning over into a turn. The centre tread is different however, with the alternating pairs of narrow-wide-narrow knobs giving it a close resemblance to a Maxxis Minion DHR II. These central knobs are designed to provide a more pronounced lateral edge to increase drive on loose climbs, while providing stronger braking traction on the descents.

continental xynotal tyre tire
The Xynotal is the fastest-rolling option, and is designed for hardpack trails and rocky conditions.

Continental Xynotal

The Xynotal is the fastest-rolling and least aggressive tyre of the range. Designed for mostly dry conditions on rocky and hardpacked trails, the Xynotal maximises contact with the ground by using a tight array of tread blocks that are notably shallower compared to its toothier and more aggressive siblings. Long and gradual ramps for the centre blocks provide a smoother transition to decrease rolling resistance, which is a similar tactic used by the Maxxis Dissector. However, the Xynotal has a tighter transition zone with connecting bridges that help to minimise roll and wandering when you’re loading the tyre up into a high-speed berm.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
Choosing the right option out of the Continental tyre range will depend a bit on your style, as well as the conditions you most frequently ride in.

Three rubber compounds

Having decided on the new casings and tread patterns, Continental then needed to choose the appropriate rubber compounds to suit. This was apparently the easiest part of the development process, since the team was already happy with their existing proprietary rubber blends.

The three compounds are called Super Soft, Soft and Endurance. Just like the casing names, these are simple labels that are easy for any mountain biker to understand.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The Trail casing only comes with the Endurance rubber compound, and the Enduro casing is only available with the Soft rubber compound.

The Super Soft compound is designed to provide maximum grip and damping, though it will wear out faster and roll slower. The Endurance compound is much firmer, lowering rolling resistance and increasing wear life at the expense of outright traction. The Soft compound is the Goldilocks option, sitting right in the middle.

Unlike Maxxis, the decision was made not to offer each tyre with several different compound variations. Instead, the rubber compound is tailored towards each of the specific casings, and therefore the appropriate riding style.

This means that the lightest Trail casing is only offered with the Endurance rubber compound. Likewise, the Enduro casing is only offered with the Soft rubber compound. The DH casing is the only exception, with certain tyres coming in either the Soft or Super Soft compound.

Chemical brothers

Continental is a little tight-lipped about the exact makeup of its proprietary rubber compounds, instead preferring to keep things as simple as possible for its customers by using straightforward names without mention of Shore numbers and hysteresis properties.

Delving a little deeper, we did discover that the new Argotal, Kryptotal and Xynotal tyres utilise a construction that sits somewhere between a traditional dual and triple compound tyre. There is a firmer base compound that establishes the root structure for each knob, with a softer compound laid over the top.

However, Continental says the layup of its tyres differs to that of Maxxis, specifically in the way that the two compounds interconnect and flow into each other. It claims this unique approach results in improved stability and wear resistance, though wouldn’t divulge much more than that. Cryptic!

continental tyre tire
We told you there were a lot of options!

Testing the new Continental tyres

To put Continental’s bold claims to the test, we decided to get in twelve different tyres to test across five bikes with three riders. We’ve been using these tyre combos for the past couple of months, and thanks to La Niña bringing an unusually large amount of rain to the east coast of Australia this year, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to test them out in a wide variety of conditions.

Mick’s Specialized Levo

specialized levo gen 3 continental argotal dh super soft
Mick chose the Argotal tyres with the DH casing and Super Soft rubber compound to fit to his Levo.

Previously I’d been using a set of Specialized tyres on my Levo. I had a Butcher T9 up front and an Eliminator T7 on the rear, both in a 2.3in width and with GRID Trail casings. It’s been a great combo, especially with the sticky T9 compound that has left me wanting very little in terms of outright grip.

I was curious to see just how much stickier Continental’s new tyres could be, so I decided to try out a set of Argotal tyres with the DH casings and Super Soft rubber compound. These are the heaviest and most aggressive option in the lineup. They’re quite a bit heavier than the Specialized tyres they replaced, coming in around 300g more per wheel.

While the DH casings are considerably thicker and sturdier, they still feature a folding bead and proved to be relatively easy to fit to a set of Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels. I tested the tyres without any inserts and ran 19psi up front and 20psi in the rear.

It has to be said that DH tyres are such a good match for an e-MTB like the Levo. The extra weight and momentum that you can carry means hard landings happen regularly, so you tend to notice if a tyre is too flimsy. That’s not been the case with the Argotals though, which have soaked up everything without fuss.

You can really let the bike fly off the brakes, and there’s no need to nurse the wheels when you’re pummelling through rock gardens. This is also the case on the climbs as well, where you end up smacking the rear wheel into big ledges a lot more than you would on a regular mountain bike.

Really it’s been the Super Soft compound that has impressed me the most about these tyres. The rubber is mighty gooey and very well damped, providing a smooth and quiet ride. Combined with the Argotal’s blocky tread pattern and beefy shoulder knobs, cornering traction is outrageously good. It’s actually quite difficult to break traction, letting you rail corners like an absolute hero.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
Mick has been blown away by the sturdiness of the DH casings, as well as the grip and damping of the Super Soft rubber compound.

The classic tradeoffs are apparent. The Super Soft compound leads to a sticky and slow-rolling feel, and there’s already visible wear on the rear tyre already. For that reason, I’d recommend the slightly firmer Soft compound option for the rear, which will hold up better in the long run, particularly on a high-mileage e-MTB.

They’ve otherwise worked mighty well in the loose conditions around Newcastle in NSW, as well as Warburton and Silvan in Victoria. My local trails have been very wet over the past few months, and the Argotals have done well to clear mud and provide heaps of grip across wet rocks and slick roots. They are perhaps overkill for a lot of Aussie conditions though, and they can be quite squirmy and draggy on modern hardpacked flow trails, so I’d suggest most riders will want to look towards the Kryptotals or even Xynotals. But for riding off-piste terrain on an e-MTB, these Argotals with the Super Soft compound are about as grippy as it gets. These won’t be leaving my bike any time soon.

Wil’s Trek Fuel EXe

2023 trek fuel exe electric tq hpr50
Wil went for the Enduro casing Kryptotal tyres on his Fuel EXe to add a bit more precision and stability.

The Trek Fuel EXe comes fitted with a set of 2.5in Bontrager SE5 tyres as standard. These are high volume tyres that offer a decent amount of traction on rocky and hardpacked trails, though the relatively shallow tread profile doesn’t give them a lot of bite when conditions are wet or loose. As such, I’ve found myself wishing for something a little stickier, particularly up front. With that in mind, I decided to try out the Continental Kryptotal front and rear combo with the Enduro casing.

The Kryptotals are slightly narrower than the SE5s, though they come in around 50-100g heavier per tyre. The added material is noticeable too, with the Enduro casings feeling significantly sturdier in the hand.

They were an absolute nightmare to fit to the Bontrager Line Pro carbon rims. These feature plastic TLR rim strips with very pronounced moulded bead channels. Most tyres I’ve used end up being fairly tight on these wheels, but the Kryptotals were a level up from that. The rear was particularly challenging thanks to a CushCore Pro insert, and success was only possible with the assistance of a Bead Bro tool. Even still, the process managed to break a tyre lever along with much of my spirit.

Once finally fitted however, the improvement in ride quality on the Fuel EXe was immediate. I ran similar pressures to the SE5s, with the front at 22psi and the rear at 24psi to suit my 68kg riding weight and local trail conditions.

In comparison, the Kryptotals offer vastly better traction. The Enduro casings are beautifully damped, managing to maintain stability while delivering a quieter and smoother ride over rocky terrain. There’s less wobble through the turns, and general handling is more precise, thanks to the slightly narrower 2.4in width.

The Soft rubber compound certainly contributes to the overall damping, helping the tread to cling to rock edges and roots. This was especially noticeable in wet conditions, with the Kryptotals providing confidence-inspiring traction on damp rock slabs.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The Soft compound offers a marvellous grip and damping over rocky terrain.

I also noticed an improvement on technical climbs, with the broad edges of the rear-specific Kryptotal helping to dig into the terrain. The back side of those same knobs offer fantastic braking performance on the descents, helping to temper the Fuel EXe’s enthusiastic momentum without locking up the back end.

The downside of the Kryptotal’s toothy tread blocks and the Soft rubber compound is an increase in rolling resistance over the SE5s. This was less of an issue on the motorised Fuel EXe, though it will be more noticeable on a non-motorised mountain bike. For that reason, you might want to consider the faster-rolling Xynotal for the rear, particularly if you’re spending more time on hardpacked trails.

For outright grip across a wide variety of conditions however, the Kryptotal Enduro tyres have quickly become one of my favourite options, and I’ll be seeking these out on future builds.

Jono’s Norco Sight

norco sight continental argotal enduro xynotal
Jono’s been testing an Argotal and Xynotal combination, which isn’t unlike the popular Maxxis Assegai and Dissector pairing.

The majority of my time riding the Norco Sight has been on a popular Maxxis tyre combination; a 2.5in wide Maxxis Assegai up front and a 2.4in wide Minion DHR II on the rear, both with a Double Down casing.

When choosing a set of Continental tyres, I decided to test a variation of the setup that Wil has been using on his Fuel EXe. Up front is the same Kryptotal Fr, though I’m running the faster-rolling Xynotal on the rear. I went with the Enduro casing option for both tyres, figuring it would offer similar sidewall support to the Double Down tyres I’d used previously.

Fitting the tyres was really tough on my carbon rims. It wasn’t impossible, but it was significantly harder than any Minions or Assegais I’ve had.

Paired up with Huck Norris inserts front and rear, I’ve been running pressures around 22-23psi, which is similar to what I’d normally run in a Double Down tyre. Despite the occasional rim bash, I’ve not had any punctures throughout testing, and there’s been no noticeable squirming in corners. The Enduro casings feel nice and solid, and the rubber isn’t showing any obvious signs of degradation so far. That’s more than can be said for some soft compound tyres we’ve tested in the past.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The sturdy Enduro casings have been holding up really well, and we’re yet to see any excessive degradation from the Soft rubber compound.

The Kryptotal Fr has slightly taller side knobs than the Assegai, and I’d say it provides a similar level of grip and cornering predictability. Even in the wet and greasy conditions we encountered recently at Lake Mountain and Narbethong, the level of traction has been unflappable.

The downside to all the grip that the Kryptotal Fr offers with its Soft rubber compound is the increased rolling resistance. It’s about on-par with a MaxxGrip Assegai, though it is slower rolling than a Minion DHF/DHR II. Personally, I think the tradeoff is worth it for how consistent the cornering is in just about any condition.

Acceleration is certainly perkier thanks to the Xynotal on the rear however, and that makes this a great combination for Aussie riders looking for a setup they can ride year-round across a variety of soil types. I’d actually like to try out the Xynotal front and rear for drier and rockier conditions, like those you’d find at the You Yangs and the Harcourt MTB Park.

Mick’s Canyon Spectral

canyon spectral ltd continental kryptotal trail argotal
Mick chose the lightweight Trail casing tyres for his Spectral, though the firm Endurance rubber compound proved to offer far less grip.

After such a positive experience of running the Super Soft Argotals on the Levo, I was curious to try out the lighter weight Trail casings on my Spectral.

I went for a slightly faster-rolling Kryptotal Rr on the rear, but stuck with the Argotal up front. Both tyres are in a 2.4in width with the Trail casings and Endurance rubber compound, which would give me a useful point of comparison compared to the heavier and softer tyres on the Levo.

The Trail casings are noticeably more compliant in hand, and they proved to be easy to install on a set of Crank Brothers Synthesis carbon rims. I tested these tyres without inserts and with pressures set to 19psi up front and 20psi on the rear.

Weighing in about 250g less per wheel compared to the DH casing option, they’ve obviously much easier to accelerate and get up to speed. The firmer Endurance rubber is low on rolling resistance, making these tyres feel quick and sprightly on the trail.

Unfortunately, the faster-rebounding compound also results in a significant drop in traction. I was finding the tyres would ping off of roots and slide across loose-over-hardpack surfaces, reducing the bike’s overall stability and calmness on the descents.

I actually struggled to find confidence in these tyres, and after a few too many sketchy moments, I decided to pull them off and fit on my preferred setup with a Specialized Butcher T9 on the front and an Eliminator T7 on the rear. The difference in traction and feel was immediately apparent, and my confidence in the Spectral returned.

I’d suggest the Kryptotal Rr on the rear wheel is actually fine with the Endurance compound, where it provides quick-rolling performance and solid long-term durability. But for aggressive trail riding, I much prefer a soft compound tyre up front. If Continental offered the Trail casing tyres with the Soft compound, that’s the option I’d be going for on the Spectral.

Wil’s Specialized Stumpjumper

specialized stumpjumper continental xynotal trail
Wil put a set of Xynotal tyres on his Specialized Stumpjumper, which are the fastest-rolling option in the range.

I can’t honestly say that I was desperate to swap out the tyres on my Specialized Stumpjumper. This bike comes standard with a 2.3in Specialized Butcher T9 on the front and a 2.3in Purgatory T7 on the rear, both with GRID casings. It’s a great combination that works well in a range of conditions, suiting the wide-ranging capabilities of the Stumpy to a tee.

It’s always interesting to experiment though, and tyres are no doubt one of the easiest ways to change up the feel and performance of your bike. For the Stumpy I decided to go with the fastest and lightest option from Continental’s gravity range, that being the 2.4in wide Xynotal tyre in the Trail casing.

These tyres came in a few grams lighter than the Butcher, and a bit over 100g heavier than the Purgatory. The Trail casings offer a sturdier feel compared to Specialized’s GRID casings, allowing me to run slightly lower pressures. I typically ran 22psi in the front and 24psi in the rear, and as usual I tested the Xynotals with a CushCore Pro insert in the rear wheel.

Thankfully fitting the tyres to a set of Stan’s NoTubes Arch MK4 rims was easy, even with the CushCore insert. This encounter was night and day compared to the stubbornly-tight Enduro casing tyres I’d fitted to the Fuel EXe.

With its heavily-ramped centre tread, the Xynotals added a noticeable turn of speed compared to the stock tyres. The Endurance rubber compound certainly helps here, offering a level of rolling resistance and tackiness that feels close to the Purgatory with the T7 compound. However, front-end traction has taken a hit compared to the Butcher with its gooey T9 rubber.

This was especially apparent during the first couple of rides, where the waxy coating (which is used to help the tyres release from the mould) resulted in a slippery feel on the trail. Once that wore off however, the Xynotals performed decently across the hardpack and rocky conditions they’re designed for. The ride feel is excellent, with the supple Trail casings conforming easily around sharp edges, helping to minimise vibration and feedback. They’re comfortable, without feeling flimsy.

continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
The Xynotals work well in dry and rocky conditions, though the Endurance rubber compound isn’t the stickiest.

The gently sloping profile and closely-spaced tread pattern gives them a smooth feel throughout the lean angle, and cornering grip is stable and consistent providing you don’t hit anything too greasy. They can slide around a bit on wet rock slabs, though this is more down to the firm Endurance rubber compound than the tread pattern itself.

With that in mind, I’d be keen to try these tyres out in the Soft compound. Unfortunately that option is only available with the heavier Enduro casings, and that will sacrifice some of the suppleness while adding 120g in rotational weight per wheel. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Continental expand its array of options in the future though, especially given how good the Soft and Super Soft rubber compounds are.

Wil’s Scott Voltage

continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
We’ve fitted the 2.6in Continental Enduro tyres to Wil’s Scott Voltage test bike.

If you’re looking for more grip and compliance out of your mountain bike or e-MTB, consider fitting a set of 2.6in tyres providing that your frame and fork will accommodate them.

continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
The Continental gravity tyre range is offered in both 2.4in and 2.6in widths.
continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
Up front is the aggressive Continental Argotal tyre.

On the front of the Scott Voltage we’ve got the Continental Argotal. As mentioned, this is the most aggressive tyre from Continental, which is designed to excel in loose and challenging terrain.

Replacing the stock Maxxis Assegai EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 2.6in front tyre, the Argotal Enduro is pretty comparable. Weight is almost exactly the same (1,310g vs 1,320g), and the similarly toothy tread pattern aims to dig through dusty and loose trail surfaces to provide dependable traction whether it’s wet or dry.

For tyres with the ‘Enduro’ label, Continental pairs them with its Soft rubber compound. In terms of tackiness, it feels somewhere in between the 3C MaxxTerra and 3C MaxxGrip compounds from Maxxis. Combined with its 110tpi casing and Apex reinforced beads, the Argotal Enduro has a well-damped ride quality with good stability at lower pressures. If you’re looking for more grip and compliance out of your mountain bike or e-MTB, consider fitting a set of 2.6in tyres providing that your frame and fork will accommodate them.

continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
The toothy tread pattern offers a comparable level of grip and confidence to the Maxxis Assegai.
continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
Mounted to 30mm wide rims, the Continental Argotal measures up very close to its claimed 2.6in width.
continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre scott voltage emtb
The Continental Kryptotal Re out back is ever-so-slightly narrower at 2.55in wide.
continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
Our test tyres feature Continental’s Enduro casing. This offers more strength and stability compared to the Trail casing, but less weight than the Downhill casing.

On the rear Wil’s been testing the Continental Kryptotal Re tyre. This is the rear-specific option out of the two Kryptotal tyres, and as such it utilises more pronounced lateral edges to offer a stronger hold under heavy braking.

This replaced the stock Maxxis Dissector EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 2.6in tyre, and again weight is very similar (1,289g for the Kryptotal vs 1,250g for the Dissector). The tread pattern is quite a bit more aggressive however, and shares more in common with the Maxxis Minion DHR II tyre.

We also went with the Enduro casing, which features three layers of 110tpi nylon fabric under the tread, and two layers along each sidewall. There’s an additional layer of cross-woven fabric built into the sidewall to boost cut-resistance, along with a thick plastic Apex around each bead to reduce the chances of pinch-flatting. It also helps to add stability at lower pressures, and currently Wil is running around 21-22psi in the rear tyre.

continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre
The Continental Kryptotal Re tyre is meant to be a rear-specific tyre, but we’d happily run it on the front as well for rocky and loose conditions.

Once in place, both tyres have aired up easily on the Syncros Revelstoke carbon rims. We’ve got each tyre set up tubeless with a few glugs of Champions Choice sealant and so far they’re holding pressure well.

It’s early days with the 2.6in Continental Argotal and Kryptotal tyres, but as expected they provide a similar ride feel to their slightly narrower siblings. Compared to the stock Maxxis tyres, there is noticeably more damping and grip on tap, and we’re looking forward to being able to push the Voltage that bit harder on the descents. That traction doesn’t come for free however, with an equivalent increase in rolling resistance. We’ll be doing some range tests to see what the real-world effect is on efficiency.

continental argotal kryptotal re 2.6in enduro tyre scott voltage emtb
From the first ride it was clear the Continental Enduro 2.6in tyre combo offers better grip and damping compared to the Maxxis EXO+ tyres they replaced, albeit with more rolling resistance.


continental kryptotal argotal xynotal tyres tires
We’ve been mostly impressed by the new Continental tyre range, which offers well-defined models and casing options to suit different riding types.

Flow’s Verdict

Having spent quality time aboard the new Argotal, Kryptotal and Xynotal tyres, we can confidently say that Continental has come out swinging with its new gravity range.

It’s worth acknowledging Continental’s success on the World Cup circuit this year, especially given just how important tyres are to elite downhill racers who are routinely riding on a knife’s edge. Clearly the new tyres have worked well for the likes of Dunne, Kolb and Kerr, who have all experienced breakout performances throughout 2022. Of course, there’s more to their race results than just the tyres they’re using, but it’s no doubt a critical piece of the puzzle.

These tyres aren’t just for World Cup downhillers though. Indeed with the variety of tread patterns, casings and rubber compounds, there are suitable options here for speedy trail riding, through to e-MTB smashing.

The new Continental tyres aren’t what you’d call cheap, though all of our test tyres have exhibited high-quality construction, with each of the three casing options providing a nice balance between compliance and stability for their intended usage. None of us has experienced any punctures to date, which is a testament to the tyre’s durability. And we’ve been particularly impressed by the Soft and Super Soft rubber compounds, which have delivered outstanding grip and damping across a wide range of conditions.

We’ve been less convinced by the firmer Endurance rubber compound found on the lightweight Trail casing tyres. It does offer a fast-rolling and hard-wearing option for riders who value speed and lower weight. It makes for a better rear tyre option for all-round trail riding, and we preferred using the softer compound tyres up front. Unfortunately you can only get those stickier options in the Enduro and DH casings, and so we’d love to see Continental bring it to the lighter Trail casing tyres to help expand the range.

There is already a great deal of choice, as demonstrated by the five different combinations we’ve been testing. And Continental has done well to limit the size of the gravity range to keep things relatively simple. Still, given our mostly positive experiences, we look forward to seeing Continental expand those options in the future, and we also eagerly await updates to its XC tyre lineup.

continental argotal kryptotal xynotal tyre tire
The Soft and Super Soft rubber compounds are insanely good, and we’d love to see Continental offering those options in the lighter casings.

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